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Medical/Health Savings

Tip: there is always a strong possibility that your hospital bill have errors. It might be worth it to hire a billing consultant that will take a % of the money they save you. Read How a medical billing advocate can significantly reduce your costs ...

Steps to get cheap contact lenses:

1) Talk to one of the discounters online like Costco or Contact Lenses at 1-800 CONTACTS | World's Largest Contact Lens ...

2) Find out which lenses they sell, what brands that they can sell at free market price

3) Go get a prescription for one of these specific lenses when getting the prescription for the Doctor


You can also get a free hearing test at Costco.

TIP: ask your Doctor to see the list of affordable medicines before writing a prescription. Bring a printout of your favorite pharmacy on the cost of meds..

Buy cheap hearing aides on Amazon were they are called "psap": PSAPs - AARP

Other place to buy hearing aides at reasonable price: iHear Medical |

Is medical tourism right for you? | Clark Howard

For more information on medical tourism check:

1) Joint Commission International: Patient Safety, Accreditation ...

2) WorldHospitalSearch.org: Find a Gold Seal Hospital

3) Patients Beyond Borders | The most trusted resource in medical travel

Smartshopper reminds you that you have choices when it comes to your health care. If your doctor recommends a particular medical service, SmartShopper can tell you how much that test or procedure costs at different in-network facilities in your area. If you choose a cost-effective option, you can qualify for a cash reward.

Blink Health is a website that may help you find cheaper prices for drugs. Put the name of medicines you need and will  show you lowest prices. 


There is a growing number of supermarkets selling low-cost generic drugs like Wal-Mart, Target, Bashas' and Kroger. Some of them charging just $4 for a month's supply of commonly prescribed generics.
Free or low cost health screening

What tests do you need and when? Some people don’t get tested when they need to. Others get screened too frequently. What you should do? If you have a family history of a particular disease, an underlying health condition or other risk factors, consult your doctor about test frequency or about other tests you may need.

  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website has a guide on preventive screenings and explains the recommendations of the US Preventive Services Task Force at www.ahrq.gov/clinic/prevenix.htm
  • The National Women’s Health Information Center, a federal website, offers screening guidelines for women and men. Go to www.4woman.gov/tools and click on “Immunizations and Screenings”

How to find free or low cost services?

  • The Free Clinic Foundation of America, a nonprofit advisory group at www.freeclinicfoundation.com and the federal Bureau of Primary Health Care, http://ask.hrsa.gov/pc, provide information on clinics nationwide.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers information on free or low cost mammogram and Pap test offered through local programs. Call 1-800-232-4636. Age and income requirements vary depending on where you live.
  • The CDC’s WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) provides chronic disease risk-factor screenings and referrals for low-income and uninsured women ages 40-64 in 15 states. Go on online to www.cdc.gov/wisewoman or call 1-800-232-4636.
  • The American Cancer Society offers links to free or low cost local screenings for numerous types of cancer. Go to www.cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.
  • The National Kidney Foundation www.kidney.org/news/keep/index.cfm, lists locations around the country that offer free screenings.
  • The Lions Club International at www.lionsclubs.org provides free vision screenings and recycled glasses to those in need.
  • The American Optometric Association offers help to those in low-income jobs with no vision coverage. Go to www.aoa.org and click on “AOA Public Programs” to find doctors who give free exams.
  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides exams and treatment, through its EyeCare America foundation at 1-800-222-3937 to those ages 65 and up.
  • Finally, check with your local health department, drugstores, major supermarkets and chain stores, hospitals, health clinics and medical schools for free or low-cost screening events for everything from asthma to diabetes. Sponsors often publicize the events in local newspapers and on radio or the Web. For links to local and state health departments, go to the American Public Health Association at

www.apha.org/public_health/state.htm.

 

www.kidshealth.org  is an online parenting encyclopedia with detailed advice on everything from what to eat during pregnancy to how to trim a baby’s fingernails. There is a section targeted at kids and another at teens. The teen site features dozens of articles on sexual health, drugs and alcohol that could keep a young adult mesmerized for hours. Physicians and health experts review all the content before it’s posted and re-review it every one to three years.

www.PDRhealth.com  contains a database of prescription information ranging from recommended dosage to side effects and what to do if you accidentally skip a pill. Those with cancer or rare diseases can browse PDRhealth’s listing of clinical trials, searchable by region and illness. And patients with cancer, lung, heart, and women’s health ailments can get personalized advice about treatment option via the site’s partner, NexCura. That service is meant to supplement, not substitute for, professional advice.

www.WebMD.com  is the biggest of the medical websites. A for profit news and information service with interactive activities. It offers features listed under “Health Care Service” like a physician directory, an insurance guide, and overview of Medicare benefits. Also useful are its subscription services, including an online weight-loss clinic ($4.99/week) and a health record storage system for families ($29.95/year).

www.YourDiseaseRisk.com  : this site sorts through research on disease risk to give users concise reports on how likely they are to develop five major diseases.

If you don’t have medical insurance and have are paying for medical costs out of your own pocket try to negotiate costs. Ask your Doctor directly before treatment begins and offer to pay with cash or a credit card. Pharmacists, dentists and hospitals may also give price breaks for the uninsured and underinsured. You can also contact www.mymedicalcontrol.com and their experts will negotiate a discount for you and you only pay them if they save you money. 

For information on health benefits available to veterans go to: www.va.gove/health  or call toll free 1-877-222-8387 (US Dept. of Veterans Affairs); www.dav.org (Disables American Veterans); www.legion.org (American Legion) and www.vfw.org (Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States)

www.aarp.org/health offer information about drugs, insurance and staying healthy for 50+

www.cancer.org includes links to clinical trials and patient support groups

www.diabetes.org offers news of the latest research, provides nutritional information and even recipes

www.americanheart.org features an online heart and stroke encyclopedia

www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) posts the government’s latest information on public health and communicable diseases

www.clinicaltrials.gov lists experimental treatments you may be eligible to receive.

www.familydoctor.org offers straight forward general information from the American Academy of Family Physicians

www.healthfinder.gov is a health library available in English and Spanish, sponsored by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.

www.mayoclinic.com offers online tools to help guide treatment decisions

www.medem.com is a partnership among medical societies to foster doctor-patient communications; includes an online medical library

http://medlineplus.gov is the National Library of Medicines’ comprehensive health information portal

www.cancer.gov (National Cancer Institute) provides clinical details about every type of cancer and the latest treatments. Other sites to look at for the latest in research and clinical trials are www.cancer.net (American Cancer Society) and www.cancer.org (National Cancer Institute)

 

Understanding your Health Insurance Cost


 

Eligible state residents of Massachusetts can sign for Commonwealth Choice a new insurance program created by the state’s health care reform law that requires all residents 18 and older to have health insurance. The insurance program offers four levels of coverage _premium, value, basic and young adult. Premiums vary based on a person’s age, as well as by the health plan and benefits package selected. For more information call the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority toll free at 1-877-623-6765 (or 1-877-623-7773 for people with hearing loss), or visit www.mass.gov/connector or www.MAhealthconnector.org

 

Enroll in a high deductible health care savings account (go to www.hsafinder.com for more information) and deposit the maximum amount each year. The money grows tax free forever if you spent it on health care. This is a good way to prepare for rising health care costs when you retire. You can use an HSA when you have a high deductible medical insurance of more than $1,300. The money grow tax free and you can use it for medical expenses that are out of pockett. There is a limit contribution of $3350. This is another tool to save money and very valuable to have as you get older when you will have more medical expenses ... this way you can use this benefit tax free. A good place to find a HSA is at Vanguard - Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

 

Get cheap prescription eyeglasses at www.eyeglassdirect.com where lenses and frames star at just $28

 

Find free or low cost mammograms at www.avonbreastcare.org/funded.asp or www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/ or 800-CDC-INFO

 

Health advocates can help you settle insurance disputes, provide research, arrange specialty consults or even accompany clients on doctor’s visit. Some charge for their services which an range from a few dollars to hundreds or potentially thousands of dollars so finding the right company to meet your needs requires some work. Make sure you understand the fees and what are you getting for them. Ask to speak to clients. Find out success rates in settling insurance disputes. Some health care advocate companies to look into are www.pinnaclecare.com  (a Baltimore based health care advocacy company), Plymouth Meeting Pa. –based Health Advocate  (www.healthadvocate.com) and HealthCare Advocates Inc. (www.healthcareadvocates.com)  in Philadelphia. If you don’t want to pay for patient advocate, hospitals and nonprofit groups also provide them:  www.pateintadvocate.org that helps those with chronic or life threatening illnesses; www.marrow.org for those who need marrow or blood-cell transplants and finally www.consumer.gov/qualityhealth/rights.htm for patient’s rights.

 

Some health insurance companies will help pay for the cost of gym membership and weight lose programs. Contact your insurance company to find out about any discounts.

 

Finding Good Health Insurance

U.S. News and the National Committee for Quality Assurance have joined forces to rank health plans based on performance relative to other plans in prevention, treatment and member satisfaction. The full list is shown at www.usnews.com … look for “best health plans”

 

Soaring medical costs are driving Americans abroad for medical treatment. Some US Companies and insurers anxious to lower care costs, are driving the trend by urging employees to be treated in one of a growing number of countries that cater to foreign patients among them Thailand, India, Singapore, Hungary, South Africa, Dubai, Costa Rica and Brazil. If you want to consider this alternative start by checking out the Joint Commission International (JCI) which evaluates and accredits health care facilities abroad at www.jointcommissioninternational.com . The JCI has accredited 130 hospitals serving foreign patients worldwide. Also check the Joint Commission International Center for Patient Safety at www.jcipatientsafety.org; the AMEDEX Global Group Inc. which offers emergency travel help and international medical insurance at www.medeassist.com. There are also health travel agencies that plan trips combining medical care and vacations like www.medjourneys.com, www.medretreat.com, www.medicalnomad.com and www.planethospital.com. Also buy the book “Patients Beyond Borders; Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Medical Tourism” by Josef Woodman (Healthy Travel Media, 2007) were he tells how to plan and budget for medical care abroad and how to find the best doctors and hospitals. You can also go to his website at www.patientsbeyondborders.com or you can find his list of hospital survey at www.health.usnews.com and look for world hospital research or medtravel.

There are concierge services like www.medretreat.com and www.IndESHealth.com that help with lists of potential hospitals overseas, appointment scheduling, arranging airport pickup and drop off and al kinds of  general help.

You can receive an automated call or a text message on your mobile phone reminding you to take your medicine. Call 877-636-6898 or go to www.memotext.com to learn more.

A good place for price comparison specific to contact lenses are www.tjoos.com, www.healthpricer.com and www.lensprice.com.

 

http://www.sparkpeople.com  SparkPeople has helped "millions of people to be healthy and reach their goals."  It is a completely free site with diet & fitness tools & services.  Some people go to the site to lose weight, maintain weight, or just live a healthier life.  You can also get the encouragement of others in the message boards.  You can enter in your food or recipes & it'll figure out your calories, you can sign up for free emails on a variety of topics, or read articles online.  They have programs to track any kind of goal.  It really is a great site.  So check it out.  POST IT...with your diet or health books, & on your computer.

 

It is important to know your family health history. Go online to access free software called My Family Health Portrait at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov to help document your relative’s health history. Many diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease can run in families. Knowing your family health history can save your life as well as the lives of those you love.

Northshore University HealthSystem also offers a family history tool at www.northshore.org/mygenerations

Reseachers at Ohio State have a tool for assessing risk of heart disease and cancer at https://familyhealthlink.osumc.edu

Also for more background on this topic of gathering family health histories check the Genetic Alliance at www.geneticalliance.org/familyhealthhistory and the CDC at www.cdc.gov/genomics/fhix.htm. To find a genetic counselor go to the National Society of Genetic Counselors at www.nsgc.org 

There is a website launched by the Partnership for Healthcare Excellence to make it easier for consumers in Massachusetts become active participant in their own healthcare. The website provides tools  that residents can use to find a Doctor, prepare for medical appointments or surgery and compare hospital quality and patient satisfaction ratings. In addition the site offers tips on taking medications safely and updates on healthcare issues. Visit the site at www.partnershipforhealthcare.org

 

Use free websites like www.my-calorie-counter.com or www.foodfit.com to figure out how many calories you need to keep loosing weight.

 

Calculate you  BMI (body mass index) at www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi  and see if your current weight falls in the healthy range.

 

Brain imaging research has shown that mediation reduces stress and can enhance one’s sense of well being according to an article about Meditation written by Tina Peng (Newsweek, March 24,2008). The Internet has many sites devoted to meditation.

www.meditationsociety.com provides basic techniques, a newsletter and other resources.

www.gosit.org is an independent Meditation Center guide were you can search by state for the centers in your area

www.learningmeditation.com is an introductory site with links to several free guided meditation workshops

www.learn-to-meditate.com is a site that breaks down different Eastern and Western techniques

 

Pharmacies and stores such as CVS and Wal-Mart are offering walk in health clinics which is a low cost alternative to a doctor or ER visit. They are usually staffed by a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant and they treat common illnesses and problems like colds, flu, burns, strep throat, urinary tract infections, pink eye and other common infections. They also offer flu shots and some vaccinations. You don’t need an appointments and visit costs cost half of a doctor’s fee and a fractio of an ER visit. To find one near you log on to CVS’s www.minuteclinic.com , www.walgreens.com/takecareclinic or www.walmart.com/clinics

 

Go to www.dentalplans.com to find dental plans in your area.

 Go to a dental school clinic to get cleaning, fillings and other basic procedures from supervised students for 50-75% less than what a dentist charges.  To find a clinic near you visit www.nidcr.nih.gov

 

Other places to get prescription glasses at a discount (get a prescription from eye Doctor that includes the PD- pupilary distance first):

ZenniOptical.com - Zenni Optical® Eyeglasses‎

 EyeBuyDirect.com - EyeBuyDirect® - Save‎

Save on Eyeglasses

Fill your contact lens online for the best deals. A couple of sites to check www.lens.com and www.visiondirect.com

 

Go to a detnal clinic at a local dental school and you could save moret han 50% on differetn procedures. All visits are supervised by experienced professors. Find  and American Dental Association accredited  at www.ada.org

 

www.docboard.org you can find if your Doctor is board certified, where he/she was trained and whether she has been disciplined by a medical board

 

www.whynotthebest.org tells you how the hospital where your doctor will treat you compares with the ones nearby.

 

www.castleconnolly.com is a database of the 20,000 best doctors available highly recommended

 by its peers

 

At www.medifocus.com experts wade through vast information on over 100 conditions and for a small fee provided a balance and comprehensive summary.

 

At www.askadoctor.com you can get advise thru e-mail from three different doctors for a small fee

 

www.weightview.com helps you keep your weight loss goals by uploading a photo of yourself, specifyig your target weith and it sends you a comouterized image of a new htinner yu.

 

Need help counting calories? Go to www.thecaloriecounter.com which has an extensive database of foods

 

Want to find put how many calories you burn during different activities? Got to www.thedailyplate.com. You can even get a personalized food diary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDICARE

Use the Medicare Plan finder to compare plan details www.medicare.gov or call the Medicare help line at 1-800-633-4227. For a step by step guide to navigating the Plan Finder, go to www.aarp.org/bulletin/medicare/quick_route.html For the local phone number of your state health insurance assistance program (SHIP) which can provide personal help, call the Medicare number above or go to www.shiptalk.org

There are interactive tools at www.medicare.gov that allows seniors to enter their drugs plus their dosages and how often you take them and compare the anticipated costs whether they are considering stand alone drug coverage or the most comprehensive Medicare Advantage plans.

There are counselors with the State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs that can offer one on one advice on every state at www.medicare.gov/contacts/static/allstatecontacts.asp

Laughing boost your mood and lower levels of stress keeping you healthy. Get a laugh break at these humorous websites: www.ajokeaday.com or www.funnyanimalz.com

 

Save money on the cost of prescription drugs - Consumer Reports





 






PRESCRIPTION DRUG




It’s Easy to Get Extra Help with Your Prescription Costs | Social Security Matters
http://blog.socialsecurity.gov/its-easy-to-get-extra-help-with-your-prescription-costs/

GoodRx: Prices, Coupons and Information GoodRx makes comparing prescription drug prices easy. Their app provides current cash and sale prices, coupons and valuable savings tips for thousands of prescriptions at pharmacies near you. GoodRx tells you which pharmacies have drugs for less than $4 per fill, and some where certain prescriptions for free!


Web-based pharmacies are the least expensive like www.healthwarehouse.com, www.familymeds.com and www.Costco.com and www.drugstore.com

 

Buy generics at major retailers like CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Target. For a list of safe and effective generic drugs that works as well as or better than brnad-name alternatives go to www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org/bestbuydrugs

 

Start calling around to different pharmacies for lowest prices. Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway and other retail chains offer many generic drugs at $4 for a 30 day supply with no eligibility restrictions.  Several chains have recently lowered prices on 90 day supplies to $0-$15.

Many pharmacies have discount cards for free.

 

Visit www.destinationrx.com which automatically compares drug prices at local pharmacies. If the price is still too high ask your doctor or pharmacist for the generic version or another substitute like older brand name drugs. . A government study showed that using smart shopping techniques for prescriptions brought the price of one heart drug from $139.74 all the way down to just $5.65.

 

Check online pharmacy prices at www.pharmacychecker.com or www.drx.com . Make sure the site you order from is one of the licensed and accredited Verified Internet Pharmacy Practices Sites (lok for the VIPPS logo)

 

www.xubex.com offers more than 250 generic medications at a cost of $20 to $30 for most 90 day supply.

 

Some drugs companies  and many mail order pharmacies offer discount porgrams for those who qualify. Learn more at www.rxoutreach.com offers more than 350 generic medications at a cost of $20-$95 for a 180 day supply. Or got to www.pparx.org too.

 

Contact the manufacturer of your medicine. Most companies offer free or low-cost prescriptions drugs to low-income people who meet their eligibility guidelines. Also, many states provide help. Call your state health department. Check out www.aarp.org/bulletin/presciptions or www.aarp.org/health/comparedrugs (click on “Your guide to state-run and private pharmacy assistance programs”.) Other sources: www.needymeds.com  lets patients search for applicable programs, download applications, search for local help with paperwork and find assistance based on location or disease look also into  the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America at www.phrma.org.

Call you medical plan and ask to receive your medicines by mail. Mail-order pharmacies typically offer three-month supplies at the same copayment as one month refills.

AAA has a free prescription savings plan that can save you up to 33%  on prescription drugs. Another prescription club is available through www.togetherrxaccess.com but you have to meet certain requirements. It is sponsored by 9 major drug companies … this free card offers 20%-40% discounts on retail prices for more than 300 drugs.

 

Merck and Pfizer offer separate discount cards for many of their medications. Discount ranges from 15%-50%. Got to www.merckhelps.com/uninsured or  www.pfizerhelpfulanswers.com

 

www.smartchoicedrugstore.co is a full service pharmacy offering cancer medications at cost. It guarantees the lowest price of any pharmacy in the US. www.drugstore.com carries a huge inventory of drugstore products including over the counter and prescription drugs. You can get a 5% credit for every purchase.  And if you are into discount natural foods this web site www.vitaglo.com offers vitamins, supplements and dietary needs at huge discounts.

Look up prescription drug information by brand or by generic name at www.health.usnews.com/drugdirectory

Patients struggling to afford prescription drugs can find details on programs that provide free or low-cost medication at two clearinghouses, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (www.pparx.org or 888-4PPA-NOW) and RxHope (www.rxhope.com ). Partnership for Prescription Assistance (www.pparx.org) helps match patients to more than 475 private and public programs with aid of an online tool. Has information on other types of assistance such as help with copayments and premiums

 

Enter your prescription at www.rxexaminer.com and the site gives you a price comparison report that lists all retail and online sources of the drug even if there is no generic version of your medication.

 

Before you go to the pharmacy, go to the website for that medication to check for coupons and rebates you can use to reduce your co pay.

www.iguard.org is an online service that makes it easy to look up side effects and potential drug interactions of all your prescription, OTC medications , supplements and herbs. You can also get important news alerts about drug safety and recalls of medications you are taking.

 

www.RxAssist.org allows patients to search a database of patient assistance programs by medication. It provides tip sheets on getting free or low cost medications, information on co pay, generic drugs and other types of assistance programs.

 

Any leftover medications? Donate then to the Starfish Project which will send them to clinics in Nigeria that serve the poor. Only certain meds (like antibiotics, vitamins, pain relievers and antihistamines) are accepted. For a complete lsit and to find drop-off sites or get labels that pay for shipping your meds log on to www.thestarfishproject.org and click on “donating medication”

 

 

 

Buy the book “How to Save on Prescription Drugs” by Edward Janini. M.D.

 CAREGIVING FOR AGING PARENTS

 

Administration for aging (www.aoa.gov) provides caregivers and their parents information on various services including elder rights.

Area Agency on Aging (see www.n4a.org –National Association of Area Agencies on Aging) or call 800-677-1116 for your local agency. This government program provides a national network of social services.

Family Caregiver Alliance (www.caregiver.org) offers programs at national, state and local levels to support caregivers.

AARP (www.aarp.org) is a membership organization for people age 50 and older and provides numerous benefits to members.

Eldercare Locator (www.eldercare.gov) is a service of the US Administration on Aging and links caregivers with senior services.

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (www.naela.org) provides searchable database to assist in finding an elder-law attorney.

Medicare Rights (www.medicarerights.org) is an independent source of health care information and assistance for people with Medicare.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (www.nhpco.org) offers information on end of life issues and state specific advance directives.

Nursing Homes (www.medicare.gov/nhcompare) provides detailed information on the past performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country.

 

Consumers can access to nursing home information online. The federal site, Nursing home Compare, is the most complete national resource offering summarized information from inspections performed by state agencies, as well as date the nursing homes must compile and submit to regulators about residents. The site which is updated monthly has also information about the facilities sprinklers system, if the home provides vaccination, pain management, pressure sores and use of physical restraints. Go to www.medicare.gov and click on Compare Nursing Homes.  Other websites who analyze the federal data and brings up the information differently are www.memberofthefamily.net, a free site that offers color coded ratings based on the federal nursing home data.  www.healthgrades.com charges for its reports and the information goes back longer that the federal site and is summarized in an easy to understand form.   www.consumerreports.org recommends facilities to chose or avoid. Just click on the health tab, then scroll down to special reports.   Some state governments also offer nursing home information sites. States have ombudsmen who deal with nursing home issues. The NCCNHR , a nursing home consumer group, maintains a site listing contact information for the ombudsmen. Ombudsmen can tell consumers about a nursing home’s recent complain record.  Got to www.nursinghomeaction.org and click on state ombudsmen.

Sign up for the “Moms Club” at www.mealmakeovermoms.com and registered dieticians will show you healthy ways to feed your family with an e-newsletter, a supermarket list and more.